AfterShokz, after 5 headphone fails from 6, how can it not be time for a 'Dear John'

Hardware and Accessories

Yesterday, I had my fifth set of AfterShokz wireless headphones fail; making that 5 out of the 6 that I have owned.

Typically, I have used the headphones for 2-3 hours daily.

Am I unreasonable to expect a set of headphones costing in the region of US$100 to last for very long with this level of use? Or have I just been unlucky?

The headphones are always handled and treated with care; and I don't recall others commenting on similar problems. So, maybe I have just been unlucky.

But, boy is it making it difficult to consider a seventh set of these headphones. And, that's incredibly sad and frustrating, as I really, really like them and struggle to know what I would choose to replace them with.

Okay, the sound and call quality aren't great. But, that's not why these headphones have become one of my favourite ever gadgets. I love them because of the added value that they offer to me as a blind user. There are just so many times each and every day when having my ears open to what's going on around me whilst listening to a podcast or book is something that I would really miss.

So, what's the story here AfterShokz?

Do you have a great product that's ultimately going to be ruined by poor quality control?

I was prepared to accept that the failings of my first two sets of Bluez was due to early teething problems. After all, that's what you told me at the time. You told me that the first batch of these into the country were fitted with faulty bluetooth modules. I accepted this, but wasn't prepared to take the risk with a third pair.

It was only after the release of the Bluez 2 that I was prepared to dust off my credit card again. In no small part due to the movement of the bluetooth module from the back to the side of the headset, which suggested that there might have been other reasons than a 'faulty' module to explain why I encountered connectivity problems with the first generation model.

And, for several months I was extremely pleased that I had given these headphones another chance.

But, then, one morning ... I reached for them, only to find that the band had decided at some point overnight to spontaneously split right down the center. Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds, Things simply don't spontaneously break in that way. But, guess what, as unlikely as it sounds, this really is what happened.

Fortunately, these Bluez 2 had been bought from my local Apple Store, which meant that I was more open to the idea of showing them the headphones and starting my explanation of how they got that way with "you aren't going to believe this, but ..."

But, do you know what? They did believe me; as they saw how perfectly straight the break line was, and how there were quite literally hundreds of tiny stress fractures around that break line; stress fractures which could only have built up over time; stress fractures in the area of the band where it should naturally flex during what should be normal use. Built up to the level where simply placing the headphones on my desk in the evening was enough to add that one last fracture that was enough to quite literally have things reach breaking point.

One piece of good news here, is that the replacement set of Bluez 2 given to me by that Apple Store is still sitting in working order on my desk. Perhaps, if asked, though, they might admit to reading this post and feelinfg a little nervous about their future.

So, my fourth set of AfterShokz headphones lives on.

Sadly, 5 and 6 have come and gone in the meantime.

Number 5 was a set of Bluez 2S. Not really too different to the previous iteration, but they did manage to find a new way to fail. This time, the rubber seal on the part of the headphone which touches against your cheek and where all of the bone conducting magic takes place decided to 'blow'; meaning that this magic now only happened on one side.

This was after 10 months, so a better survival time than had been typical.

I also need to give AfterShokz credit here. As they didn't just replace them, they replaced them with a set of the newer Trekz Titanium. Woohoo, indeed, as these are a significant improvement on the Bluez.

Okay, "woohoo" and "improvement' until yesterday, when I picked them up to find that one of those rubber seals mentioned earlier had mostly detached from the headphone.

I could take the Superglue to them; and hope that the initial break of that seal won't have let the bone conduction 'magic' escape.

But, I am just so tired by yet another set of AfterShokz failing. I have so much love for the technology and what it offers to me when its working.

But, AfterShokz; really; come on. That's 5 sets of your headphones which have failed for me. With each failure, a little more of the love for the technology and the goodwill towards you guys for delivering it erodes.

Right now, there really isn't much love or goodwill left. Probably not enough to have me give you one more opportunity, to reach for my credit card one more time.

As said earlier, that's both sad and frustrating. In no small part because I don't know right now where my next set of bluetooth headphones is going to come from.

But, it's sure looking like this is my 'Dear John' letter for AfterShokz.



Submitted by Greg Wocher on Wednesday, May 17, 2017

If you go onto amazon and search for bone conduction headsets there are quite a few manufacturers that make them. You might be able to find one that meets your needs.

Greg Wocher

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I hope you copied this post and sent it to Aftershokz.

Submitted by Paul on Thursday, May 18, 2017

I've had the Bluez 2 and the Trekz Titanium. The Bluez 2 became practically useless when the button cap for the volume control popped off and I couldn't find it (as you probably know, Aftershokz headset volume isn't fully controllable using an iPhone's volume control). As for my Trekz Titanium's? The first one I got was faulty, and the rubber seal on the second eventually came away and I wasn't motivated enough to seek out a suitable adhesive since the Apple Airpods had been announced around the same time. The Airpods definitely have some issues, but my primary reason for choosing them was the fact that I could choose to use just one of the ear pieces with the option of two when I wanted it, not to mention a source of additional charge that fits in my pocket.

One of the problems I had with both my Aftershokz headsets was the terrible bluetooth connectivity. I would often experience audio that would break up when I had my iPhone in my pocket, and on a couple of occasions the headset disconnected for no apparent reason and couldn't be reconnected, even by re-pairing, until a few minutes later. Honestly, their bluetooth implementation is plain crap. Both Apple and Bose do a better job with bluetooth.

Submitted by alex wallis on Sunday, May 21, 2017

Just curious why did you go on to get two further sets of these if your fourth set is still fully functional? I have also been having headphone woes with wired earphones often lasting me less than a year or simply having terrible build quality. I am expecting airpods to arrive any day now because I am fed up with wires failing just through headphones being pulled in and out of pockets. also added to which all the lightning based earphones I have had have had accessibility issues with companion apps with unresponsive manufacturers unwilling to fix them. these include people such as libratone which is the worst for accessibility and jbls app for the jbl reflect aware. though with jbl reflect aware the build quality was the reason I scrapped those because of the ear tips constantly falling off when I pulled them out of my pockets and the tips coming in two sections. annoyingly there is nothing wrong with the wiring on the jbl reflect awares just the tips are appauling. my libratone q adapt in ears were sent away once for repair but they claim wax was the reason they stopped outputting sound totally from the left channel, which I don't know if I believe given that they started working again then stopped which is when I sent them back. also though the libratone q adapts have some strange glitches often when I connect them. I really dislike the idea of going down the airpods root, but I think I have worked my way through the main noise canceling in ear headphones, and I am not getting a set with a 3.5 jack as then I have to carry that stupid dongle around with me and all it takes is one loss of that and I would be stuffed unless I had spares on me which isn't always the case. headphone wise portability is also important to me and yes I know I can get foldable sets and someone has recommended me a set of on ear headphones which he says can fold small enough to go in a pocket. But I can see myself breaking those if I was in a hurry while folding them, plus of course they come with the 3.5 jack. Its annoying about the 3.5 jack being scrapped as now if I want to use an accessible cash point I have to make a point of carrying around a dedicated set of earphones just for this, I actually did write to apple and tell them how there decision had negatively impacted me but got no reply. I still think scrapping the headphone jack was mainly a marketing exercise to force us to spend more money, although I did read about because of phones being smaller having the jack was causing some parts to not get along properly. We don't all want as small and thin a phone as possible. the one thing I am concerned about is that I have just ordered my nice new shiny airpods and either apple will announce a new version in June or even worse announce they are shipping them as standard with the new iPhone 8, I will be very angry if that happens though think I can still return them if that's what they do and just wait to get my next iPhone.

Submitted by Mr Potato Head on Sunday, May 21, 2017


The Bluez did not support multipoint pairing and I had tired of having to do the whole pair, unpair and repair thing every time that I wanted to switch between iPhone and Mac. Having a dedicated set of Bluez for each device was just easier for my use case.

Submitted by Chris on Thursday, May 31, 2018

How can I go about finding buying a broken Titanium AfterShockz to tear down to see how the band was mfg (what inside it gives it it's rigidity)?

Submitted by Hubert on Thursday, May 31, 2018

In a way you'll be glad to hear you are not the only one that has had an issue with these headphones, I've gone through 2 sets of these in a space of 11 months between the 2 sets. I decided that enough is enough and bought a far less expensive set of bone conduction headphones and so far they are brilliant and feel more durable than the Aftershox. I think the ones I have are called Borfone RPX5 bone conduction headphones, not sure about the spelling but I'm sure you will find them they are very decent from my experience solar, yes they need to be charged more frequently but at least they feel like they'll last longer.
Hope this helps,

Submitted by AliceP104 on Monday, June 4, 2018

I've been in a similar situation too! I think I got through three sets of Bluez 2 Headphones and I'm now on my second set of the Trekz Titanium model! My first Trekz Titanium headphones barely lasted; I think I only had them for about two months but my current set I've had for over 18 months so touch wood they'll last a long time! I have had to use Super Gloo to repair the headband as the rubber-textured part of the band was peeling off but they're in very usable condition still!

Submitted by Neightrix on Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Owned one. Lasted about 4 days in total time. Bought an off brand from amazon to replace it and they don't even have bluetooth enabled to work in the first place.